London’s Science Museum has rejected claims that it allowed oil supplier Shell – a sponsor of the institution – to influence the direction of its climate change programme.According to a report by The Guardian, internal documents seen by the newspaper saw the oil group raise concerns about one part of the museum’s climate change project, with the sponsor reported to have said the programme would create “an opportunity for NGOs to talk about some of the issues that concern them around Shell’s operations”.
The Guardian also reports that Shell wanted to know whether or not a particular symposium held at the museum “was invite only” to ensure “we do not proactively open up a debate on the topic [of Shell’s operations]”.
Shell is principal sponsor of the Science Museum’sAtmosphere, Exploring Climate Science exhibition and gallery, as well as the extended Climate Changing programme run by the institution. The exhibition was designed to enhance public understanding on global warming, but The Guardian says Shell’s own climate change adviser – former oil trader David Hone – made recommendations on what should be included.
“The Science Museum has a long-standing relationship with Shell, including most recently sponsorship of Atmosphere, our climate science gallery, which provides our visitors with accurate, up-to-date information on what is known, what is uncertain, and what is not known about this important subject,” said Science Museum director, Ian Blatchford, in a written statement to AM2. “The gallery has been hugely popular since it opened four years ago and has now been visited by more than three million people. As with all of our exhibitions and galleries, the editorial vision and control sits with our curatorial team.
In regards to the report from The Guardian, Blatchford added: “I can confirm that not a single change to an exhibition resulted from these email exchanges.”
A spokesperson for Shell commented: “We have occasionally made wider suggestions regarding the Climate Changing programme but at all times the Science Museum retained full editorial control over its plans and content.”